The Wire, in Swahili!

Last night mom and I were watching the second season of The Wire (yeah, I know we’re a bit late to this show, but don’t blame me, I wasn’t even born when this episode aired) before bed and were both shocked to hear Swahili!  I made mom rewind and watch again, and sure enough, there’s a guy speaking Swahili!

See for yourself:

The Wire, Season 2, Episode 3

Kiingereza

Kiingereza

Fanya kazi

Fanya kazi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, if you’ve watched the youtube link I posted above, you probably noticed a few things (or maybe not, I might just be more sensitive since I’ve spent the majority of my life in a Swahili-speaking country).

  1. Hooray for HBO and The Wire for using Swahili.  There were words and phrases that I could pick out so at least some of it is accurate.  However, maybe this guy is from Kenya or maybe he’s just an actor learning lines, but his Swahili accent certainly doesn’t sound like anyone I know from Tanzania.
  2. How is it at all plausible that a man from East Africa is employed on a boat that has docked in both Baltimore and Philadelphia and he doesn’t speak a word of English?  Even more crazy is that the boat is supposedly filled with lots of other workers.  How the heck do they communicate in order to get anything done?  I seriously doubt that a native Swahili speaker would ever be hired for a position without speaking ANY English, I mean, English is an official language of Tanzania (although you’d barely know it since so few people speak it well).
  3. The way that the detective responds to the Swahili-speaking man is just downright absurd.  Talk about cultural insensitivity (and I actually really LIKE this show).  The detective literally says, “Yabba dabba dobba doo”.  ARE YOU KIDDING ME?  This is a black man making fun of another black man using words from the Flintstones.  Need I say more?
  4. Lastly, while I don’t appreciate the delivery of the sentiment from the detective, he does have a point.  How WOULD someone travel half-way around the world and not speak a word of English?

Now that’s quite enough of my ranting for one day.  Just had to stick up for all my East African, Swahili-speaking buddies out there!  Now, back to The Wire…

Ni wakati wa kuangalia The Wire

Ni wakati wa kuangalia The Wire

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Twiga Turns Two

Mwanza is making me a bad brother.  First, mom ships Twiga off to America without letting us have a proper goodbye and then the Internet decides not to work for 3 days so I can’t even wish my big Bro a Happy Birthday.  Bad Mwanza, bad.

Twiga celebrating his birthday in America

Twiga celebrating his birthday in America

You might wonder how we know when Twiga’s birthday is, if he was born in the dirty streets of Mwanza.  Well, like lots of Tanzanians, we just made his birthday up!  Twiga’s passport officially says that he was born March 21, 2011.  I suppose I now have some sympathy for those Chinese gymnasts in the 2008 Olympics, because when you’re from a developing country, it’s hard to figure out when you were born!

Anyhow, we’ve got our Internet back for now, so I’ll share some of the photos with you that Twiga sent me from his birthday.  I feel terrible that I couldn’t be with him since he celebrated my first birthday with me last year, but mom says not to worry because there will be plenty more to celebrate in the future.  Humph, but the future is so far away.

Here’s Twiga with some new birthday toys (I’m sure he was impressed that America has toys just for cats!):

Another birthday toy

Another birthday toy

Servant Colin got Twiga some toys

Servant Colin got Twiga some toys

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Twiga also got to spend plenty of his birthday napping:

All tucked in

All tucked in

Tuckered out after playing with his new toys

Tuckered out after playing with his new toys

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Twiga tells me that one of his favorite activities is playing pranks on Servant Colin, like hiding under the table and turning the Internet off every now and then.  He says having intermittent Internet makes him feel closer to home.

Playing "Turn of the Internet"

Playing “Turn of the Internet”

And just before he went to bed on his 2nd Birthday (which was actually his first ever birthday celebration AND his first birthday in America), he e-mailed me to say he missed me and that I should hurry up and get there.  I’m on it, Tweegs!

Twiga, surfing the Net

Twiga, surfing the Net

 

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A Love Letter to My Brother-from-Another-Mother

Dear Twiga,

Where do I start?  You are my brother, my best friend, and my partner in crime and now you are gone.  Mom tells me that I’ll see you in just 2 months time, but that is ages in our animal lives.

You came to me in August on Nane Nane Day in Tanzania.  I will forever remember you as my Nane Nane Twiga (and it’s also extra special since eight is mom’s favorite number, clearly we were meant to be).  When you arrived, I was the first to find you and boy were you ugly!  But I loved you anyway.

In the beginning...

In the beginning…

I’ve had your back since the very first day and you’ve had mine as well, that’s why we make such a good team.

And you've got mine

And you’ve got mine

I've got your back

I’ve got your back

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We do everything together, and you’ve taught me how to share.  We’ve shared food:

Sharing is caring

Sharing is caring

Are you going to eat that?

Are you going to eat that?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’ve shared a bed:

But, then I really liked it

But, then I really liked it

At first I was skeptical...

At first I was skeptical…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And we’ve shared clothes too:

Rockin' out

Rockin’ out

You were there for me on my First Birthday when mom wasn’t even there.

My Birthday Party

My Birthday Party

You’ve kept me entertained

Adventure Kitty

Adventure Kitty

Climbing kitty

Climbing kitty

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And best of all, you taught me how to love someone other than mom.

 

Bath time

Bath time

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Cuddle time

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Everyone here already misses you, including Agatha, Eddie, and the Maasai.  The Maasai is super excited to keep this photo of you two since he misses you so much.

You and Akwi, our Maasai friend

You and Akwi, our Maasai friend

 

Oh, and here’s a warning: America is really, really cold.  You can’t even imagine how cold it is, even more cold than when it rains here in Mwanza.  A tip to beat the cold, hide in the oven, but make sure that servant Colin knows you’re in there!

 

The oven is warm

The oven is warm

I miss you Twiga, more than I can put into words (or into barks or meows either).  I’ll be there just as soon as I can and then we’ll conquer America just like we did Tanzania.

Love,

Your Brother-From-Another-Mother Tito

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Guest Blog: Twiga “Coming to America”

"What games do ya'll play in Africa? Chase the monkey?"  Well, actually, yes, we do.

“What games do ya’ll play in Africa? Chase the monkey?” Well, actually, yes, we do.

Hi, I’m Twiga, the Cat (I’m sure you all remember me) and that’s me on the left.  I look like one cool, average American guy, right?  And you know why?  I just came to America – just like Eddie Murphy in “Coming to America“!

Like Eddie, I’m an African prince (all cats are princes, in case you didn’t know) who left my home to see what this America place is all about.  (On the right is my servant Colin, naturally portrayed by Arsenio Hall).

But you’re probably curious how a little ol’ Tanzanian street cat like me made it all the way to the US.  Well, sit right down and let me tell you my tail.  It all started in one of these:

In the cat carrier in my Tanzanian home

In the cat carrier in my Tanzanian home

STILL in the cat carrier at the Mwanza Airport

STILL in the cat carrier at the Mwanza Airport

Yup, you guessed it, still in the cat carrier at the Dar es Salaam Airport

Yup, you guessed it, STILL in the cat carrier at the Dar es Salaam Airport

My temporary home from Mwanza to Dar es Salaam.  As you can see, I tried to make the best of it:

Cat Nap!

Cat Nap!

The best part was no one made me go through security, so I could have smuggled out all the catnip and street mice I wanted.  If only I’d known!

I was kind of enjoying myself, but in Dar I had to say goodbye to my Sarah (who calls herself my mom now).  She made kind of a big deal about it, but I was pretty cool, because I’m one cool cat, remember?

On my next flight, I had my servant Colin stow me under his seat.

Stowed

Stowed (in a tiny black bag)

By the time we got to the Ethiopian airport, I really needed to get out, so servant Colin let me wander around this phone booth for a few minutes.  I wanted to call and let my dogs in America know I was coming, but servant Colin was having none of it (Plus, he said that the charges from Addis Ababa to America would be exorbitant even though I’m a prince).

Chillin' Addis Ababa Phone Booth Style

Chillin’ Addis Ababa Phone Booth Style

Next we had this really, really, really, long flight to Washington, D.C.  Every 5 hours or so, servant Colin took me to the airplane bathroom so I could keep trying to get in the airplane toilet.  I just don’t see why this is such a bad idea.  I needed a bath, plain and simple.

But finally, after 17 hours on the same plane (that’s 119 cat hours, mind you), we arrived in Washington, D.C.  Servant Colin was a little nervous about Customs, but they didn’t even look at my papers.  The joke’s on them!  There’s no telling what I brought with me!  You’ll be reading about it in the papers soon enough, just you wait and see.  I’m looking good now, because I clean up well, but just months ago, I wasn’t looking nearly so fly.

After

After

Before

Before

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And just like that, I became an American citizen and a hero too – like George Washington or Shaquille O’Neal or the American flag!

My first impression of the US was this place called Starbucks.  It must be a new thing because I’ve never heard of it.

Still in that darn tiny black carrier

Still in that darn tiny black carrier

My first experience walking around the US was this family airport bathroom.  Naturally, I tried to climb in the toilet again (one wants to be clean to make a good first impression), but servant Colin advised me not to.  Not cool, servant boy.  Not cool.

Stare-down with servant Colin

Stare-down with servant Colin

And after one more short flight, I arrived at my new temporary home – Charlotte, North Carolina.  Though maybe now, it’s a bit more North Catolina!

Now that I’m an American, I’m going to take up some new hobbies.  First of all – I want to call this Miss Cleo lady – she seems really smart.  I need to start eating a lot more fast food and I’ll have to ramp up my gun collection pretty fast.

Of course, some things never change:

Charlotte

Charlotte

Mwanza

Mwanza

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also, I’m sure someone will be interested in this Kenyan birth certificate I have for some guy named Obama.

Screen Shot 2013-03-15 at 6.20.14 PM

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed my emigration tail.  Now I must begin my endless pursuit of the American dream – starting right here:

IMG_0864

 

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My Mom Went on Safari (Again) And…

She says I am the wildest animal she has seen in the past 3 days.

I'm a wild man

I’m a wild man

See for yourself on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AurGHVtjNiM

But then again, mom showed me some of her photos and a video of all the animals she saw (BTW, what kind of mother goes on safari and doesn’t bring her favorite son?) and I’m seriously wondering if she’s the crazy one.  I mean, look at these creatures:

Simba

Simba

Chui

Chui

Tembo

Tembo

Nyati

Nyati

Ngiri

Ngiri

Pundamilia

Pundamilia

Twiga (like my kitty cat!)

Twiga (like my kitty cat!)

And a video to boot: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=23H-A1hIjWc

So who’s REALLY the wild one?

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Re-blogging Meredith: Kwaheri Mwanza

My friend Meredith just left–but check out her blog entry about me, my mom, and her friends!

"Half the fun of the travel is the esthetic of lostness."

After too short a time, I had to say farewell to Mwanza and all the new friends I have made. It was sad to leave my MYCN friends so soon.20130304-172539.jpg

My fellow expat friends have a regular Monday night happy hour, complete with the best sweet and salty popcorn in town.

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This last week we decided to be adventurous and move from our usual location near the hospital to the rooftop of one of the newest hotels in Mwanza.20130313-101927.jpg

Man, was that the right decision! The views from there were incredible! Of the Rock City

20130313-101856.jpg

And my last sunset over Lake Victoria

20130313-101949.jpg

Ally received a special treat in the mail, and we could not be more excited to indulge!
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Some fellow Canadians also threw a good old fashioned BBQ over the weekend!20130304-172549.jpg

It was such a treat, complete with cheese for our handcrafted burgers!20130304-172600.jpg

Sarah’s dog Tito also joined in…

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Security Update

Following on mom’s harrowing mugging experience, we’ve continued to take security at our house even more seriously.  Mom lives in constant fear, which is really hard for me to watch since I love her so much.  It’s funny, here in Tanzania, people are more afraid of me than they are of her.  I mean, I suppose I do have big teeth and four feet with claws, but COME ON people.  Mom weighs like 54kg and I weigh like 8kg.  But, whatever works when it comes to security, right?

So, my friend Colin came to visit last week and he brought us some signs to put on the gate.  I’m pretty proud of these signs because they officially make me a guard of the house!  Look and see what I mean:

English

English

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Swahili

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’ve got them in English and Swahili and there’s also a picture of me looking really mean just in case the burglar can’t read (Side Note: only about 60% of people in Mwanza can read so this was really smart of Colin to include a picture).

It was a team effort making this Security Improvement.  Colin and the Maasai guard worked together to complete the task:

Colin hanging the Swahili sign

Colin hanging the Swahili sign

The Maasai hanging the English sign

The Maasai hanging the English sign

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I practiced showing my teeth while the humans hung my signs.  I look really scary, huh?

TEETH (and tongue)

TEETH (and tongue)

So to all you loiterers, thieves, burglars, and other bad guys take a second, look at our signs, and STAY AWAY!

Bad Guys Beware

Bad Guys Beware

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The Mama-Q

So what the heck’s a Mama-Q, you ask?  It’s a Tanzanian BBQ with only girls (I was the token boy, but I’m actually more of eunuch so I didn’t ruin the “Mama” vibe).

Mom’s got some awesome new Canadian friends and I’ll admit I’m crushing hard!  Look at this group of girls, they’re pretty great, no?

That's a fun looking group of Canadian girls (plus mom)

That’s a fun looking group of Canadian girls (plus mom)

The Canadian girls decided that they would test out their barbecue and invite a gaggle of women to enjoy the feast.  Mom made a giant salad, while Kate, Susan, and Shannon made burgers and hot dogs, along with plenty of freely flowing Shantinis!

We started off the afternoon with some cocktails and I even got to sit right at the table with the girls.  I wore my best BBQ tank top after all!

Mom and I enjoying our drinks

Mom and I enjoying our drinks

Later, I had to help mom and Kate start the barbecue since these are manly things.  Here I am supervising the cooking of the meat.  What would they do without me?

I love me some meat

I love me some meat

And finally it was time to eat.  Of course, being the token man, I feel I did the bulk of the work, therefore I deserve the bulk of the meat, right??  Apparently, women don’t use this same logic so I had to rely on my charming looks in order to procure a tasty morsel of meat.

Gimme, gimme!

Gimme, gimme!

And you know what?  That meat was yummy!  Bravo Kate!  I approve.  Please invite me to your next Mama-Q, I promise, you won’t regret it!

Yummy in my tummy

Yummy in my tummy

 

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My Mom Went to Zanzibar and…

she left me home while she got to see huge sea turtles.  Look what I COULD have been doing:

Swimming with Turtles (in my imagination)

Swimming with Turtles (in my imagination)

I’ll sort of forgive my mom for the missed turtle opportunity since she was nice enough to ask Agatha and her family to stay with me while she was gone.  I had so much fun running and playing with Agatha’s 4-year-old son, Joshua.  I think I may have even lost some weight!

Hanging with my new friend Joshua

Hanging with my new friend Joshua

 

 

Running with Joshua!

Running with Joshua!

Joshua and I became so close that he even let me cuddle with him at night.  So next time my mom wants to go away for the weekend, I won’t be totally opposed, as long as my new friend can come stay with me again!

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Mwanza Mugging

A week ago, as mom was walking to work, she was jumped by a man with a knife who pushed her to the ground and then stole her bag which contained a laptop, her iPhone, her camera, her wallet, and her house keys.  Mom and I had always presumed Isamilo to be safe during the day, however I guess we were wrong.  The man was hiding behind the wall in the ditch where mom walks several times a day to and from work.  Poor mom, she was so scared and could only watch the man run away with all her things.  If I were with her this NEVER would have happened!

This is where mom was robbed at knife-point

This is where mom was robbed at knife-point

Mom was very shaken by this incident and I did my best to lick away her tears and comfort her when she finally got home from dealing with the police (who did nothing to help the situation, by the way).

So listen up thieves and other criminals of Mwanza, I have teeth and I’m not afraid to use them.  If you hurt my mom, I will hurt you back, and that is a promise!

See these teeth?  I WILL bite you.

See these teeth? I WILL bite you.

Also, we’ve beefed up security, Tanzanian-style, around the house by changing the locks, adding frosted plastic to the gate so you can’t see through, and putting tons of nails on the wall so no one can sit there.  We are SERIOUS about safety because getting robbed is no fun.

Beefed-up security

Beefed-up security

And if you live in Mwanza and happen to see a black HP laptop, an iPhone 4 with a ton of photos of mom and American music, or a red Olympus camera for sale, let me know so we can go reclaim our things!

Be safe out there!

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